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Ask Amy: Should I tell them their grandfather isn’t who they think he is?

Ask Amy: Should I tell them their grandfather isn’t who they think he is?

Dear Amy: You have had a number of letters regarding disclosure of DNA results to relatives, etc.

I am 84, and I have just learned through DNA testing that I am illegitimate.

My biological father and brother are dead, and my biological nephew does not answer my efforts to reach out via the DNA site.

Since there is no way to obtain health information, should my children be told? They loved their “grandfather” and I’d hate for them to feel “disinherited.”

– DNA Dud

Dear DNA: First of all, I think you should reconsider some of the language you are using to describe your situation. I’d love to retire the word “illegitimate” to describe people born outside of marriage. (If anything, maybe it’s the parents who are “illegitimate.”)

And, yes, in my opinion you should disclose this to your children. They have as much a right to know about their DNA as you have to know about yours.

I hope you will remove all the “quotation marks” from your narrative – and your beliefs – about your own life.

You are legitimate. The family you know, the people you love – this is your family.

Your children can take the DNA information you’ve gathered so far and make their own choices about how to proceed.

Dear Amy: My childhood friend of 15 years and I lived together for three years as roommates. We were amazing friends and great roommates to each other.

Two of the three years we cohabited were during the darkest days of the pandemic, so we spent a ton of time together. It was so fun.

When I met my boyfriend during the second year of living together, Childhood Friend and I saw each other less often because I was getting to know him, but she and I still saw each other and texted frequently.

About a year later she met her boyfriend, and communication became much less frequent, to the point where she often forgot that I had texted her. She used the excuse of, “I’m bad at responding, you know that” or, “I’m super busy – sorry for responding late.”

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I live with my boyfriend now and she is living alone for a few months, until she and her boyfriend move in together.

I miss her a lot but don’t know what to do or say because I don’t want her to think I’m angry. I only want her to be happy, even if that means we aren’t good friends anymore.

I don’t think she’ll change her texting habits for me, and she’s always wanted a fun and amazing boyfriend, which she now has. I just miss her as a friend.

Any ideas?

– Losing Friendship

Dear Losing Friendship: It occurs to me that if Childhood Friend wrote this question, she might reflect on her own disappointment that, because of your connection with a new boyfriend, you essentially moved away from this extremely close friendship — and during the darkest days of the pandemic, no less!

My point is that for both of you, your emotional attention has shifted, even if your friendship-needs have not.

But transferring life partners (trading the bulk of your primary attention away from your cohabiting bestie to the men in your lives) does not mean that you are headed to a bestie-divorce.

You two have been friends through very different phases in your lives (from childhood to roommates to adulthood). This is a transition to another phase of friendship, and it will take some time to adjust.

I hope you will be patient with her. Call or see her in person (verses texting). Express a version of: “For me, our close friendship was the silver lining of the pandemic. I hope we can find ways to keep it going, even though I know we’re both distracted by these men in our lives.”

It can feel good to state a simple truth: “I miss you! I’d like to be closer.” If you do, your friend will probably express a version of the same sentiment.

I hope you two can schedule some one-on-one time together as your friendship makes yet another important transition. If your respective guys hit it off, all the better.

Dear Amy: “Lonely and Angry” reported that her husband had relocated from their home and hometown, and moved in with his mother, many hours away.

Given that this has gone on for a year, I wish you had given her the bad news: He’s left, and he ain’t coming back.

– Been There

Dear Been There: I appreciate your blunt assessment.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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